"...one community" unless you're in senior management!

In a recent message to staff about the USS pension strike the Provost declared that we are all "one community", however new evidence has emerged that, if true, shows some members of this community are in a different boat to the rest of us.

A document has been circulated to UCL's Academic Board after being leaked. It appears to have been prepared by UCL in response to a Freedom of Information Request, as it was leaked with an FOI tag. The document shows the remuneration packages of Members of the Provost's VPs team and the Provost himself. Its accuracy was partly confirmed at a Feb Town Hall meeting that voted no confidence in UCL's governance when Rex Knight (VP Operations) publicly stated that he had a bonus, and stated the amount.

If the document is genuine, we believe that UCL has been sitting on this FOI response waiting to release it later rather than sooner. If one was to speculate, one would say it would be politically sensitive to release it while the USS dispute is raging and UCL's hawkish line on staff pensions. If that is true, it demonstrates that UCL is involved in "dark arts" of news management and spin, the same dark arts running through the now infamous "Hymas email" that has also been leaked.

We have not yet had confirmation that this table is accurate apart from Rex Knight's corroborating evidence above and the fact that UCL have not refuted it. So, we are posing it as a question to UCL: is this information correct? If it is, why has its release been delayed for so long?

If it is, the most remarkable things about the tables below are:
a) the Provost who said "not one penny more" for USS and our pensions, and who continues to support the dismantling of the DB scheme, is not himself in the USS scheme. Not only that, but the "enhanced opt out" in the pension column for him indicates that he is likely in an NHS pension scheme, given he began life as a clinician. That is a Final Salary, Defined Benefits scheme! So the person who tells us that our DB pensions are un-affordable (translation: wants to prioritise real-estate) appears himself not to be in USS and is likely in a better DB public sector scheme than USS. Either that or we're paying into a private pension for him (note also that UCL appears to be paying for private health insurance for him as one of his employment benefits);

b) again if the document is accurate, UCL has instituted a bonus culture for its senior managers. The bonuses may not be huge (current maximum: £10k) but they are growing in number, there being 4 VPs on bonuses the year before and five last year, but they point to something very troubling in our university. It is that a culture has taken hold at the top that mimics the corporate world in approach, if not amounts. Our senior managers get bonuses - no academic is entitled to a bonus, nor any teacher, admin team member, or other employee. Not that they should, given how divisive a bonus culture can be. But why has this been introduced for senior managers, some of them on more than £250k? And what are the bonuses for? Look around you - packed classrooms, stops on academic hiring, frozen pay, faculties whipped into producing more deficit, ballooning of casualised staff contracts, cuts in administrative staff. Our salaries have been suppressed below inflation for over 10 years now, and our pensions are threatened - but bonuses are growing. To repeat, if this information is true something is rotten at the heart of our university.


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